tv [untitled] May 12, 2011 6:00pm-6:30pm PDT
hiring operators. when you don't have enough operators, you put more runs out for overtime and it misses the service. you need to balance that because our objective, our goal is to put 90% every day on the street for schedule. we fall below that -- part of the reason is we don't have enough operators who have been hired because it takes on our process for civil service and other things along time i do have to balance the number of operators in attrition. when you don't have enough operators, -- the last three months, we have averaged 50 runs a day at overtime. those are people coming in on their day off. fans at some point, you balance the level. on some of the other categories
you see in the presentation, some of the electronic technicians on the rail side. on the real side, you had a significant reduction in staff over the last two and a half years. there has been an increase in miles the cars -- an increase in miles, the cars have gotten older, there's a greater maintenance demand as cars age. this is part good news -- we are supporting a number of rehabilitation programs on both the bus and rail side focusing on components that fail and that are delaying our service and using overtime to do that work in addition to the preventative maintenance inspection. part of the key thing for us is the level of staffing. the other thing i would point out in terms of the city contracts is that when people leave, and we have had a lot of people felt in the last couple
of years retire and have been incentivize to retire because we have operations on the maintenance side for a number of city-wide contracts, for people with the appropriate security, they are free to go to the port or somewhere else and that process delays our hiring and filling positions and causes us to have to get the work done and do that over time. that is a quick summary of some of the issues that drive some of the overtime. president chiu: after our last hearing on overtime, given the threshold of 30% overtime trigger for our part of human- resources needs to sign off on this, i proposed we reduce that to 20% so that we know exactly how many folks are working at a higher level of overtime. do you have any idea of how many
of your workers would fall into that category? >> i want to make sure i understand your question. in terms of categories, we would have a couple of groups such as service inspectors -- there are employees who manage the service on the street. there are people in the control center where we've run a 24/7 operation that would be in that category. there are some station agents also who have built up a lot of overtime because we want to cover all the stations and have been using overtime to cover overall reductions in the staff. those are three examples and we can provide a very precise lists based on -- because we certainly know where overtime is going and who is using it and
for a reason. president chiu: i think there is often a perception with my constituents that there are muni drivers and other employees who are not necessarily showing up to work when they need to and that's exacerbating overtime issues. can you talk about your statistics in that area? what is your absentee rate and are your drivers coming to work on time? >> in and force when areas, as far as absentee rate, we are below 5% on a daily basis. our employees show up to work, but a lot of our overtime deals with special events and, there's an incident that pco is needed, like a car incident to direct traffic or we get a call from the police department or fire department to use direct traffic around emergency incidents, that takes up a lot of time.
the majority of that is not on overtime. >> i just want to add to what mr. mason said in terms of one of the things we're trying to do that has had a dramatic impact of overtime. a week ago thursday, we had eight -- we had 22% of our workforce unavailable for service. 22% of the total. the majority of that in july of last year -- excuse me, august of last year, we put a sick leave policy into place. the result was the number of the usage of sick leave went around dramatically in the first six weeks. supervisor campos: tell me -- president chiu: tell me what was happening before that. >> we had put some people on the abuse list. this required bringing in a
doctor's note a little sooner and also required -- it identified discipline to be applied immediately for each occasion. the sick leave policy went into effect and within two or three weeks, says cleveland down, but at the same time, the applications for family medical leave went up exponentially. what we have seen is a shift over, and the one instance, to family medical leave as well as sick and so part of what we're doing is working with other departments, both within the mta and city to deal with it and help us manage it and control it as well as we do with instances of workers' compensation. so there is a number -- when we are trying to both manage the
workforce that we have and increase the percentage of availability, there are some things we are working on as well to try to -- we're looking at the sick leave policy, we are reaching out to try to fix as best we can to understand what actions we are allowed to do under family medical leave. the result of this is on a typical day, as somebody is a full-time operator and they don't come to work for whatever reason, we have to try to fill that run in overtime and that's our practice. in terms of managing our work force, that is an important aspect to what we are trying to do to reduce overtime. president chiu: a final comment and question. obviously, every two years during the budgeting process, you try to estimate what your overruff talk -- what your overtime is going to look like. in this year's analysis, you're
talking about $4 million of extra overtime we did not expect. frankly, we have another item -- it's more than that, 18. that amount of money could solve some of the problems in this city. i'm looking at the next item we are dealing with when it comes to wage theft. if we does have a small fraction of that, that could help deal with the issues everyone in this room is for. that could go a very long way. my point is we have to do a far better drop -- a far better job of budgeting hour overtime projections and as you are going through the contract negotiation process right now, let's say you were given additional flexibility in our contract to use part-time drivers, what methods were guarantees are you going to be able to put into place that will actually help you keep overtime costs down? it seems to me at the end of the day, a lot of folks want to pan
the additional costs of workers using it, but it's up to management to figure out what the best practices to keep these costs down. i don't see any indications that has happened in the last couple of years. >> a couple of things -- one was suggested earlier by supervisor campos. we're be measured against a budgeted number. when the number is developed, we have to be clear and the assumptions and the service perspective. what is the service we are expected to deliver? as was pointed out correctly, we know how many giants games there are every year. we know how many 40 niners games. special events needs to be reflected entirely in the budget as does -- 49ers games. that will give us an opportunity to run this same level of service at a more cost-effective
level because we will be paying more directly, i simply as i can put it, we will be paying more hours for people to drive and not to sit. those are some of the -- having first clear understanding of the service plan -- i would also say that when you have a service plan, i would argue that in terms of -- you are always going to have some percentage of overtime in transit. as i said before, somewhat tongue-in-cheek, it's not a four-letter word. we go through that exercise as we develop a budget and want to stay within the overtime budget. anything we can do to schedule overtime -- the other thing is, to the extent we run a good quality service, meaning if we
reduce delays, that means you don't have to have people out responding in take people out of service. schedule overtime is a way to do it. right now, we've got good controls on both of them, but the cause and effects and the one we really need to drive down to make up for the numbers that you cited would be the unscheduled overtime to the extent we reduce delays to the extent we manage and get people to come to work. that will make the most of the difference in our numbers. president chiu: private-sector managers are incentivize to keep down overtime costs. i know many of my colleagues are frustrated by this -- you come back with those with high overtime numbers and there's not a lot we can do to ensure you
can help us keep down these costs. it seems like a groundhog day year after year, every sixth month, the overtime costs keep going up. what assurances do we have in six months or one year we will have a different report that comes back? you are very well compensated for the work that you do, and i'm just trying to understand as we go through this process of trying to fix the mta and muni, how we know you're just not going to provide a plan of why we are back in this situation again? >> a number of ways. i think we work together on the development of the budget so we are assured we know what the
scheduled overtime this. we know what our targets are. we agree when we build the budget of water staffing levels are at one of the reasons on the maintenance side that overtime has been high in the last 12 to 14 months is the staffing level. part of the plan was presented was looking at and rebuilding some of the resources back to the front line troops. we have a number of controls and the place to manage overtime on a day-to-day basis. we have a daily report that tracks every run that overtime and we fall on delays. we are happy to share whatever information. it is a front burner issue, if you will, at the mta. it is something we talk about virtually every day -- not virtually, we talk about every day. in terms of our ability to give
you assurances, i can assure you we will do everything we can we are doing -- we're doing everything we can to build the budget and get the contracts of more flexibility to manage the system. we're doing that forcefully right now and that should yield the results we're hoping to get. president chiu: thank you. supervisor farrell: i would like to eliminate a few things. i'm not so sure the public knows about these things. you mention this notion of standby time where -- >> standby time is what we keep referring to in bill work rules when we build schedule. you have two times a day, the a.m. and the p.m. where you put out more service than the rest. there are some levels of service
all day. you need to use one person to cover both russia hours. you have hours of service they are available on the bus side, over 12 hours. you can have somebody drive for 10 hours and they will be available for 12 hours and some portion of that will be over time. the other way people do it, other transit properties for example, it would be to schedule some 18 hours a day, straight work, no standby time, we pay them for the time they're driving the vehicle. you use someone who would work three and half for four hours in the afternoon to fill an afternoon run. that's one of the efficiencies we are working on to get. that covers the entire schedule you set up by using a part-
timer who is less costly than a full timer. this balancing -- the term of sweet spot was used -- balancing between the right number of full-timer's and part-timers' because nature of our business is the service we have to provide is not flat over the course of the day. it goes up in the morning, dropped down in mid day add drops down in the day and comes back up. one of the ways to fill the gap -- that would be using part- timers on those kinds of things. the other thing that is obvious is all lot of these special events that come up are three or four or five hours that may be ideal for a part-time operator. that would basically reduce our cost in that regard. stand by is simply under the
contracts we have, the way the schedules are put together, we do not have portions or pieces. we have to put an afternoon and morning together to make up for a 10-12 hour day for one person and that sometimes does not fit in all the old work rules correctly so we pay some portion of that as overtime. does that answer your question? supervisor farrell: it begs a lot of other questions. what are people doing during standby time? are they hanging out at starbucks? >> it could be any number of things. it is the time they're paid. supervisor farrell: they are on the clock being paid? >> yes. supervisor farrell: so when you talk about -- a lot of this reverts back to that the
explanations seems to be around part-timers and the lack thereof and i understand the part of our prior contract. knowing that, when was that contract signed? >> i'm not sure exactly. four or five years ago. it has been in effect for a while. i'm happy to go look it up, i just don't have the exact -- >> the prohibition on part-time operators has been in the contract for a least 15 years. more than the term of the current contract, which is what i think mr. haley was speaking to. supervisor farrell: if it has been in effect for that long, it seems to be an excuse that that's the ability and that's why the overtime is so high. shouldn't that be budgeted in?
right now, we're looking at not just over all, but transit operators and the transit division has basically all if not 90% of the overtime increase. it is well over 50% over budget this year. how is it -- we have known this for however many years that it's not part of what we know honor scheduling route? >> first of all, the budgeted number you are measuring as against, it is unclear to me what the assumptions were when that number was built in terms of service levels and staffing levels. in terms of the second part of your question, forget part- timers, why are you over the budget? a couple of things -- first is the number of operators we have them available to drive.
our schedules as we need a 1174 operators available to put service on the street every day. when we have some number less than that, we either missed the service or fill the run with overtime. the number of operators we have is one of the causes over time is up, forget part-timers or anything like that. we don't have right now and over the last several months, the number of operators we need. in order to fill the service, we have more operators that over time. similarly, -- supervisor farrell: pardon me for interrupting, we don't have the number of operators we need -- why not? >> that's a fair question. we are in the process of -- i guess it was about two years ago, we stopped hiring operators for budget reasons.
we have been working to catch up since then, going through the process, we lose 12 or 15 operators a month and we are in the process -- there are four or five trading classis going through in the next several months on the bedside and we're looking to catch up on the rail side. it is a number of factors that tieback originally to the budget as to why there are not sufficient operators' right now. in terms of the first part, leaving out part-timers, the first part is due you have the right number of operators to put in service? the second set of issues that drive up over time is what is going on with the system? i'm not talking about special events, but things like -- one that has caused a lot of overtime, grignard. and the last several months, beginning in the fall, one of
the facilities is old and heavily utilized. we are forced to basically moved functions out of there and operate the service while we did emergency made his to the physical plant. we move to thej and the k onto the street and all that resulted in a great deal of operator over time necessary to work around a capital project, similar capital projects at 30th and church. other work which is beneficial to the system. california street has resulted in additional overtime for us. we have a system like ours in terms of the age of the fleet, we have a 10 or 11 year old on average bus fleet. the buses have not had a midlife overhaul.
we are doing some things better showing positive results with some of the proposition k money, but at the same time, we have had -- in the month of january and february of this year, for example, we had 15 vehicle delays on the real side a day caused by trains. on average, nine of the trains got taken out of service for doors or propulsion. the number of delays, aged equipment also drive that the overtime. supervisor farrell: that's another set of questions. the city itself has been involved and we start to talk about this all lot and a continuing issue about our streets, we don't provide enough money in the annual budget for ongoing maintenance.
as a bit of an excuse, that we have to spend more money on maintaining our aging fleet, why have we not budgeted for that in the past? that is capital planning that we should not be surprised in any given year. >> just one of my observations in time with the overtime budget over the years in muni and in the city, at times, there has been a reluctance to accurately reflect a true overtime budget in certain departments. in other words, kind of two questions. setting an appropriate overtime budget for a department and secondly, managing over time compared to actual. i know that muni is over their overtime budget by 50%, which is what we're talking about in transit, but muni has been over
its overtime budget for several years. at some point, they need to accurately reflect a reasonable expectation for an overtime budget. looking at the underlying trend, the change is less dramatic. this shows you the overall percentage of the salary budget being spent on overtime over time. if you compare their overtime use as compared actual spending the before, looking at their budget which at times is artificial, it might give you a true sense of the trend. just as an observation. some of this is setting realistic budgets that are achievable through our overtime process as well, and that has not always been the case. we have set budgets that are artificially low in overtime and high in permanent salaries. department manages within their
overall salary budget but not necessarily in the individual. >> -- supervisor chiu: if i could just follow up, do all other transit agencies have over time budgets at the 15% rate or 12% 14% rate that it seemed you had on that graph? >> i did not know the benchmark. i would assume not at this level. supervisor chiu: another explanation could simply be that we have a bureaucracy that has become accustomed to relying on overtime. there might be other practices we could implement that would help bring down these costs. >> and we have talked about some of them today that need to be pursued and implemented to bring down overtime costs. at 14%, and muni is a different operation than the rest of the city unscheduled overtime is a normal method of constructing transit routes, but 14% of the overall budget is dramatically higher than the rest of the city as a whole, which is something
like 6%. i think today we talked through things like improving hiring and staffing plans, using part-time operators, reducing the reliance on overtime for scheduled shifts of overtime and weekends. a lot of this is under way within the mta. supervisor farrell: i just say to the nba, to echo what president chiu was saying before, this is a big deal. this is $18 million this year alone. we are in tough budget times, but that could do a world of good for the rest of our city. it is surprising how high this number is. if it is the trend, i think consistency is even worse. i share the frustration, but i do not know what there is to do about it right here. supervisor campos: if i may jump
in, let me just -- i know that we have a lot of people waiting for the next item, so we want to move on to that, but let me say this about the presentation for muni. i appreciate all the information that was given, but this is not the first time that we talk about muni over time. it is not the first time that we point out that almost half of the city's overtime comes directly from muni. that has been the case for quite some time. as the column -- comptroller -- controller himself noted. this is not the first time that we have had this discussion. when you have an issue that has the severe financial consequences that this has, you
usually have a plan in place, and i had heard a lot of different ideas that had been articulated, but there is no, in my view, comprehensive written plan that says, "this is what we as an agency in 10 to do -- intend to do. these are the targets, and this is the timeline for win we plan to get their." i have not heard that. what i propose, unless i see an objection from members of this committee, is that we simply keep this item on a monthly basis, that we at least going forward just hear from muni on where things are. i think that the more information that was provided to this committee, to the board, and to the public, the better. and i would also say that this is such a significant issue for the city, especially in these financial times, that i would hope that the next time, maybe we